April Note

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As we approach the close of the Lenten Season with Holy Week, we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord.  These areas of his work lead to the aversion of God’s punishment, the forgiveness of sins, and victory over death – together grounding the hope of the Christian Faith.  The union of humanity with God in the person of Jesus had already been accomplished in his incarnation.

Jesus’ death on the cross was substitutionary.  The Gospel of John gives us an image in the witness of John the Baptist: “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  Matthew, Luke, Paul, 1 John, and Hebrews all agree.  In the death of Jesus the punishment due to humanity is taken by Jesus on our behalf.  Many reformers describe this as the “wonderful exchange.”  Our sins are taken on by him and God’s justice is fulfilled.  In Jesus, we experience forgiveness for our sins and peace with God.

In his resurrection, Jesus experiences victory over death and is declared Lord over all existence.  Death is defeated.  In Christ, we share in this resurrection life here and now, and will fully experience our resurrection life and transformed body in the future.  We are called to have no fear of death, because our certain hope is grounded in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus in history.

These events, and their brief explanations, are both simple and profound.  I encourage each of you to prayerfully reflect on them as we approach the close of this Lenten Season.